Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Going the Distance" (2010)

Starring Drew Barrymore, Justin Long and Christina Applegate
Written by Geoff LaTulippe
Directed by Nanette Burstein
Rated R - Language, nudity, sexuality
Running Time: 102 minutes

Going the Distance [Blu-ray]Erin (Drew Barrymore) is a woman who feels lost.  She knows what she wants to do with her life, but seems unable to make it happen.  She's 31, going back to college to realize her dream of writing for a newspaper and interning for the summer at a paper in New York City.  In her final weeks in New York, she meets and begins a relationship with Garrett (Justin Long).

At first, their relationship is just casual, but by the end of six weeks when Erin is moving back to San Francisco, they discover that it's difficult to say goodbye.  The two then decide to carry on a long-distance relationship with the understanding that Erin will attempt to get a job and move back to New York when she finishes her studies.  In the meantime, the two text and talk on the phone or via the internet constantly, falling more and more in love with each other as time goes on. 

As the two visit back and forth, the strain of maintaining a long-distance relationship grows worse.  When it starts to look like Erin won't be getting a job in New York City after all, things between the two come to a head as neither is willing to make the sacrifices necessary to move toward the other. 

"Going the Distance" is a reasonably enjoyable romantic comedy.  The R-rating helps by injecting some absurdly raunchy material into the proceedings which otherwise would likely have been a particularly rote film.  Most of this ridiculousness comes from the side characters rather than from Erin or Garrett themselves, though they do get into their own wacky situations.  Garrett's roommate, Dan (Charlie Day) is particularly bizarre, whether it's his terrible answers at bar trivia, his bathroom "open door policy" or "Charlie Chaplin" costume.  Box (Andy Sudeikis) gets some laughs as well, particularly when explaining his "mustache time machine" theory. 

Garrett and Erin do get into some wild situations, including getting caught having sex on Corrine's kitchen table, but most of the comedy from the two of them comes from their own interactions.  Long and Barrymore have decent chemistry (apparently the two were dating at the time the film was made) and that goes a long way toward selling their relationship.  The rest of the cast is filled out with recognizable faces from other comedies these days, including Rob Riggle, Ron Livingston and Jim Gaffigan, all of whom get little worthwhile moments.  Gaffigan does great as Corrine's husband Phil, especially in the aforementioned kitchen table scene. 

There's not much else to say about "Going the Distance."  It's no riotously funny classic, but a fine way to put away a couple of hours with a fun cast and definitely some laugh-out-loud moments.  It's good, but not great, although when it comes to romantic comedies that's probably a rare enough occurrence to say that it is great.